Happy Birthday, Lizzie

    My ever-fabulous godmother, Lizzie, would be 73 today.

    So for those of us that knew her and loved her, please pick up your martini
    glass and give her a toast. And for those of you who didn't have the 
    opportunity to meet Elizabeth Strahan...
    try to do something nice for someone else today. 
    Hold the door open, smile at a stranger, give a compliment...
    and listen to one of our favorite songs, which feels especially appropriate on 
    this rainy Berlinese day.

    Happy 73rd! Hope you are celebrating too wherever you may be...



I'm Right, Why Is This Wrong?

    Today's bit of Filosofia recommends that you refrain from trying to solve
    complicated mazes in the car.
    You've been warned.


One of the Best Things About Skype Is...

    Being able to chat with your extremely fashionable dog from afar.


Pixel Church: Saving Your Soul One Brick at a Time

    Each time we drive to the pet store, we get to pass this church.

   And each time we pass this church it is either raining,
   or I don't have my camera, or we're late.
   So after several months of coveting this eccentrically compelling architectural
   specimen from the passenger window,
   I finally got a chance to pull over and take a look.

   Unfortunately it was a day that the church was closed to the public...
   But if the outside is this good,
   my guess is the interior will be deserving of its own visit.
    Until then, please take your time and marvel over the swirling,
    textured, pixel magic that can be achieved by
    using a single, repeating element.
    Who knew a brick building could look this good!

    And for whatever reason,
    all of this very ordered and logical brick work was paired with this
    deeply perplexing Grauman's Chinese Theater-esque entryway.
    This royal blue tiled, bulging canopy fiercely battles with the
    rest of the church for style, scale, period, color, and compositional domination.
    Yet somehow, while this church really makes no logical sense
    from a design standpoint...
    I haven't seen a church quite this compelling in ages.

    So, anyone want to come to pixel mass with me?
    I'm really hoping that they're performing this song on repeat inside:


The Grass is Greener and the Shipping Containers are Braver in London

     I somehow ended up in London for a few moments at the end of last month
     and while I was there encountered some very expensive grass....
     (Hi! I cost $29,000 a year to maintain!)

    A few very brave and unusual staircases...
    Nature clashing with progress...

    Some profoundly unfinished thoughts...

    And someone who actually has more laundry to do than me!


Some Places Deserve to be Famous

    There are some tourist attractions in the world that are really
    not worth your time.
    Attractions that when you get there you find yourself thinking "that's it?"
    or "I thought it would be bigger in real life."
    The Alhambra is not one of these places.
    The Alhambra deserves its accolades.
    And you'd be hard pressed to find craftsmanship of this caliber
    anywhere else (hey Sistine Chapel, are you taking notes?).

    And even though I spent several weeks in architecture school
    meticulously studying the roof of the Sala de las Dos Hermanas
    and making drawings like this:

     which of course meant I had understood and mastered its logic...

     When actually confronted with this masterpiece up close,
     could you blame me for forgetting all of my pervious knowledge
     about muqarnas and geometric patterning?

    While I focused all my attention in school to that one ceiling,
    I was happy to discover that it was just one of many impressive moments
    scattered throughout the expansive Alhambra complex...
    So while you might come to the Alhambra thinking
    you already know it all...
    do prepare yourself for the likelihood of leaving
    with some stars in your eyes.
    And if you get lost, just keep an eye out for the eager animals,
    ready to guide the way.


My Favorite Mistakes

    I have been thinking a lot about mistakes today...
    their values and their stigmas.
    So much about the nature of mistakes implies an element of
    negativity and failure, and in many cases such a critique
    may be deserved....

    Like in the cases of most architectural mistakes:

    Or mistakes against ideas of sustainability and humanism.

    And maybe even in certain cases we can include culinary mistakes...

    But some mistakes, make life better.
    Some mistakes add spontaneity, surprise, and color to our
    rules and rigid structure.
    Some mistakes are worth smiling about.

    So here's to the great fashion mistakes
    and the sincere but failed attempts to tame wild animals mistakes.
    Heres to the technological mistakes

    and of course, my favorite...
    the ever-poetic translation mistakes.

    What are your favorite mistakes?